WASHINGTON (AFP) - Chrysler announced on Tuesday that it would bow to the United States (US) safety regulator's pressure to recall 2.7 million Jeep Libertys and Jeep Grand Cherokees over a fire risk that caused dozens of deaths.
Two weeks after rejecting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's recommendation for a recall, the number-three US automaker said the two sides had "resolved their differences" over the issue.
Chrysler said it would "conduct a voluntary campaign with respect to the vehicles in question" that would offer visual inspection and, "if necessary", improve the sport utility vehicles' rear structure to better withstand crashes.
Chrysler nevertheless maintained its stance that the SUVs - 1993-2004 Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Libertys - met safety standards.
"Chrysler Group's analysis of the data confirms that these vehicles are not defective and are among the safest in the peer group," it said in a statement.
"Nonetheless, Chrysler Group recognises that this matter has raised concerns for its customers and wants to take further steps, in coordination with NHTSA, to provide additional measures to supplement the safety of its vehicles."
The NHTSA had identified a pattern of fires erupting in the cars after rear-end collisions ruptured the gas tanks. As many as 51 deaths had been reported in such incidents.
Chrysler conceded that "about 21" deaths had occurred in rear-impact collisions that resulted in fires.